Raul Rodriguez, who let his video camera roll as he confronted neighbors over a noise dispute, insisted he acted in self-defense. But jurors didn’t buy it.
Instantly after the verdict was read on Wednesday night, family members cried out and the judge quickly ordered that the courtroom remain quiet.
Before the courtroom cleared, support was quickly centered on a widow whose husband was gunned down more than two years ago.
“We’re just glad that it’s over. He can’t hurt anybody else,” said Mindy Danaher, outside the courtroom.
There was no forgiveness from Mindy Danaher. However, she said she believes Rodriguez’s conviction will translate into a safer neighborhood.
Mindy Danaher was celebrating her birthday with her husband and others at their home when this happened in May of 2010.
“I loved my husband and miss him so much. I just know he’s up there, and he helped us, all of us, get through this,” she added.
Rodriguez went to the Danaher family home angry about noise from the party. Right up until deliberations, his attorneys said he feared for his life.
Prosecutors argued that when he took a gun, flashlight and video camera, he went looking for trouble. He ended up shooting and killing schoolteacher Kelly Danaher and wounding two others.
Ricky Johnson was one of the victims.
“This has tore me up for two years. Hopefully now I can begin to heal from it because I have a lot of guilt over it,” said Ricky Johnson outside the courtroom.
A 22-minute video, recorded by Rodriguez, was the key piece of evidence during the trial.
“I just wish the cops would hurry and get here. These people are drunk drunk drunk,” Rodriguez can be heard in the background.
At another point in the video, a confrontation ensues.
“I’m in fear for my life. Get away from me. Get away from me,” Rodriguez says in the video.
Prosecutors have said that an armed Rodriguez was well-versed in the state’s self-defense law.
Longtime friends of Kelly Danaher told KHOU outside the courthouse that they haven’t received any indication that Rodriguez is sorry for what he did.
“I think he doesn’t care. I think he’s arrogant and he thought he could do whatever he wanted. He thought he was the law and he thought he could get away with it and he didn’t,” said Sarah Ward.
The Rodriguez family didn’t want the cameras pointed at their face as they left the courtroom, and they said they’d comment after the punishment phase.
Prosecutors have not said if they will seek the maximum sentence, which is life in prison. Sentencing is set for Thursday at 9:30 a.m.